Retail Payment methods - what are the options?
A staggering 50% of shoppers will abandon a purchase if they are unable to use their preferred method of payment.
Good enough reason for retailers to offer customers a range of varied payment options. However, offering the consumer payment method flexibility has benefits for both customer and retailer in terms of convenience, greater spend, better customer service, customer acquisition and the strengthening of long term customer relationships.
Despite the proliferation of modern payment methods, cash is still a frequently used payment method and remains an important, basic payment offering for retailers. It has very few drawbacks and some benefits for customer and retailer alike
It’s easy and convenient - in particular for those shoppers who prefer to carry it
Fast - money is the retailers immediately
Zero transaction fees - the full sale amount is the retailers, there are no processing fees as with cards etc.
Less temptation for shoppers to splurge - increased spend is more likely with alternative methods
Credit and Debit cards have become commonplace payment methods. Convenient and nowadays crucially contactless, this offering is the bare minimum retailers need to offer their customers in order to remain competitive in the marketplace. These instruments have many upsides in comparison with cash not least the perception of increased security - they do however have some negatives for both consumer and retailer
Lends businesses authenticity - business is seen as abreast of the times
Increased sales orders - cash, especially in larger amounts, is increasingly less often carried
Cash flow benefits - money is deposited directly into the retailers account
Customers increased spend - good for retailers, not so good for shoppers!
Fees - accepting card payments incurs processing fees
The rapid ascension of mobile/smartphone payment channels means easier, faster, more convenient purchases for shoppers with their phones ready to hand. There are benefits for the retailer too
Customer convenience - faster, easier, contactless
Benefits for cash flow - similar to credit Card/Debit cards - money efficiently credits the retailers bank account
Data acquisition - smartphone payments data, such as spend and frequency of purchases, can be tracked allowing for real-time, in-store offerings, discounts and sales.
Gift cards and store credit
Often overlooked as payment methods, gift cards and store credit are invaluable tools for retailers in developing customer loyalty, acquisition and retention. Credit, as means of solidifying and enhancing established customer relations and gift cards by enticing new customers. Other benefits to retailers include
Increased customer spend - shoppers are more likely to spend more than the value of the gift card or credit
Retention of money in the business - offering gift cards or credit in respect of exchanges/refunds enables the retailer to retain funds within the business
Loyalty Rewards Payments
Offering a loyalty rewards program where the customer earns points with each purchase not only builds customer loyalty, but the redemption of these points in part or full payment gives the customer another payment option and encourages additional spend in your business.
Modern customers expect a varied customer payment offering including custom payments. For the retailer it’s essential to facilitate these methods in order to cater for customer preferences and to remain competitive in the industry. Custom payments offer benefits to both customer and retailer
Split payments - in retail, the ability for two or more customers to spit the purchase between multiple cards
Split tender - facilitates the customer preference of paying in part by cash the balance by card
Partial payments - the retailer may accept a deposit and the balance of a purchase in instalments or online. This can result in a larger average order
Perhaps a drawback worth noting is that facilitating multiple split payments incurs processing fees and therefore cost to the retailer is a consideration.
Customers want convenience and flexibility whether they are purchasing in-store or online. Offering an online shopping and payment method for delivery by retailers in current socially distanced times is not only convenient for shoppers, but a distinct, competitive edge in the retail industry.
Flexibility in the customer payment experience is a critical element in the customer journey. Offering several payment channels demonstrates that your business values customers throughout the customer journey, solidifying and sustaining long-term, loyal customer relationships.
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